Occupy Edmonton protesters decided in a general meeting Monday evening that they will not vacate the park they occupy on Jasper Avenue by the 10 A.M deadline on Tuesday. Melcor, who owns the property, asked the protesters to vacate, giving them a deadline to leave but not a reason why they wished them to do so. President/CEO Ralph Young also declined to provide exact details of steps his company might take if the protesters remain past the deadline.
Protest organizer Chelsea Taylor maintains that the group has kept the park tidy and hasn’t been a nuisance. She and others believe that they should be allowed to remain and don’t view their determination to stay as an escalation. Young maintains that Melcor has worked with both the Occupiers and police to accommodate the protest but that they would prefer Occupy Edmonton to move on.
Portrait of an Occupation
The Occupy Edmonton camp site is neat and well-organized with tents for sleeping, first aid and those for supporters to drop off supplies. So far they have received food, bedding, warm clothing, coffee and water. They number about 60 campers overnight, but the group swells with additional volunteers during the day.
The park, which if not for the decorative fence surrounding it, could just as easily be taken for an abandoned lot, is located on the corner of Jasper Avenue and 102nd Street — right next to a Wok Box and across from a Tim Horton’s. Homeless have routinely made use of the space for overnight accommodations in the past, and its location on the busy intersection allows the Occupy protesters a visible platform to call attention to their cause.
Prime Real Estate
Surrounded by placards and signs that members and volunteers take turns holding up for the passing vehicle and foot traffic to see, the protesters have been in possession of the park since Saturday afternoon, following a rally in Churchill Square and a street march that drew upwards of 1,000 people. The site and the protest is a work in progress, and so far, an impressive display of heart and conviction.
Share Your Stories
I took part in Saturday’s rally and march, and if you haven’t yet, but have the opportunity, I urge you to do so. If you have, share your stories or just let us know what you think of the Occupy movement.
Photo by Ann Bibby